Natalie* was 38 when she first met Rosanne*.
“Late last year I fell in love,” she tells me. “Unexpectedly and in the most unexpected place.”
Natalie had just finished her appointment with her therapist when she met the woman who was due to have her appointment next.
“When we met there was an instant recognition,” she says. “We were convinced we’d met before but couldn’t put our finger on it – we never had.”
The next time they crossed paths they were both attending a ‘Relationships’ workshop.
“I had been on the dating scene for about a year without much success,” Natalie says. She caught up with Rosanne and they exchanged details – eventually becoming Facebook friends.
Listen to Mia Freedman interview country music star Beccy Cole on finding love on No Filter. Post continues after audio.
A few months later, they both happened to be in the same 12 week group therapy class. “As the weeks went by, I learnt more about her as she did with me. We were an open book.” Natalie says.
“We became good friends during this time and would check in after each session to see how we felt as every session was really heavy for me. I was incredibly triggered and finding out a lot about myself and my behaviours in the dating world.
“We were about half-way through when I realised I started falling for her. She says she fell for me from the first time we met but she knew that I was ‘straight’ so just accepted it would never happen.”
At first, Natalie didn’t say anything to Rosanne.
But at the end of the 12 week programme, the group had a Christmas dinner. Natalie and Rosanne were so comfortable they started holding hands at the table. "It just felt natural," Natalie says.
They've been together for eight months now and Natalie says she's "still learning how different it is to be in a relationship with a woman".
Since dating Rosanne, Natalie's been struck by the fact that people who don't know her would probably assume she's a lesbian. But she doesn't call herself that.
"I don’t use a label because I’m just me. I haven’t changed as a person, but I’m definitely growing in this relationship and it’s been incredible. For me it's been about love but some people want me to declare that I'm a different person now. I'm not. Just because I'm holding a woman's hand and with a woman doesn't mean I need to be labelled."
"It doesn’t matter what sex, shape, size, height, religion or hair colour your partner has. When you connect you just connect and we’re all just who we are."
And who you connect with can surprise you.
Rosanne isn't Natalie's "type" at all. Natalie used to go for "rock star looking dudes". Early on in the relationship Natalie would look at her new partner and think, "She's a woman... how do I feel?"
Her answer has always been the same.
"This is right. This is so right. I fell in love with this person - she just doesn’t look the same as people I’ve dated or married before. It’s that simple. Apart from normal things we’re probably faced with when we’re in a new relationship, I feel like I’m finally growing with this person in this relationship. I’m finally an equal in this relationship."
* Names have been changed for anonymity.